I never was one who was big on birthdays. Not mine, at least. So what? What was there to celebrate in getting older? I didn’t achieve anything extraordinary. I made no discoveries important to mankind. I was just me.
He’d be one of the first to remember. Weeks ahead. He’d call and “book” me for dinner, ask me where I’d like to go to celebrate. Most times, I’d say, “I want to come home.” And have a meal together with my family. Because that’s the best kind of birthday celebration.
This year, there were no calls, no reminders to Mum to cook my favourite dishes, no nagging at my brother to come home for the weekend to celebrate my birthday.
It’s my first birthday without my Daddy, and it feels strange.
To wake up tomorrow and know that his text message wishing me happy birthday won’t appear on my phone anymore. To go home to his house and not see him sitting in his favourite armchair, a big smile on his face, a red packet clutched in his hands, waiting, waiting, waiting, for the prodigal daughter’s return.
But I have been surrounded by people who love me more than I thought possible. And that makes the pain a little more bearable. My brother came home this weekend, whilst my mum went away with friends for a little holiday. We never saw each other this weekend, but he called me to wish me. Knowing he was in town, made me feel better.
It’s ok. I know I’ll be fine. I’ll shed no more tears today.
I’ll see him again in 3 weeks, at the place we last laid him to rest.
I’d take a ferry ride into the middle of that big blue river. Sit in that boat quietly with my brother by my side. And we’d hear him talking to us once more.